Just watched the launch of AIESECs midterm 2015 vision

Watch on Posterous

It's simple, yet a pretty powerful (and definitely huge) ambition – AIESEC's goal until 2015 is to "Engage and develop every young person in the world". I wish AIESEC all the luck with that, and hopefully I can be a part of helping to realize in some way when I'm an intern in the next 6 months and after that alumni.

Video shows the delegate's of the conference (who had toiled for 10 days to discover & create the ambition), finally they got some time to dance 🙂

What leading a youth organization can look like


People spending all their breaks working on creating exchange experiences for people all around the world 🙂

Young Leader: AIESEC alumnus knows the secret of life (and exchange)

AIESEC alumnus knows the secret of life (and exchange)

If you ever been in AIESEC you know there is one phenomenon that is equal everywhere: when current AIESEC members meet the organization’s alumni, the alumnus almost always regard their period in AIESEC the best in the universe possible and giving the impression that the current AIESEC members don’t know what they are doing (and start giving advice – obviously not considering the current situation of the organization). It’s an illusion of the bright past, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that now that I am an alumnus, I can do the same!

So here are my hints for AIESEC, now that I am only an alumnus

Sergio shares his thoughts on how to improve AIESEC, even though I think the organization shouldn’t listen to everything us alumni say (especially recent – we think we know everything), Sergio does have some really valid point.

An area that I find especially interesting is to see how the social media strategy of AIESEC evolves, especially from the perspective that there is such a wealth of stories and conversations happening within the organization – and these are just waiting to be much more open forum. If I’d add my opinion to the mix I’d say the key thing is for AIESEC to let go of the idea that we’re doing social media for promotion or marketing – rather the tools that we provide internally in AIESEC should be ways of telling stories and engaging conversations, of connecting the tribe and allowing more people to connect with and join this tribe – whether they are partner representatives, alumni or university students.

I really hope that information management & online collaboration gets the maturity within the organization that other areas such as finances, planning or internal processes have got! And, with the current leadership I have a good hunch they just might! 🙂

What drives us to do what we do?

As a leader of a non-profit organization (AIESEC) driven mostly by volunteers, you get to see and learn a lot of interesting things about motivation. Since there is no direct monetary profit of being a part of the organization (unlike business etc. where I’ve also worked), The reason for investing your time and energy into it and making it grow, needs to come from other places.


Our international president, Aman, recently posted a question to all the other presidents from AIESEC in different countries about what this motivation really is, and he posted two videos on TED (Science of Motivation and Why We Do What We Do) as input to the discussion. In the discussion some early comments came up that there is a major difference between people who are leaders and have stayed a while in AIESEC, and people who are new to AIESEC. Many shared that they felt that as you spent more time in the organization your motivation changed – from initially being focused on what you can get – you tend to move to a focus on what you give. I think this shift in focus comes from the fact that you become aware of and connected to a community.

I find that, in my country Sweden, many students I meet initially talk to me a lot about their motivations for themselves, their degrees they want to take, their aspirations for jobs, career, money they want to get. However, they rarely speak about their aspirations for their communities, what they want to achieve for others. Once they have been involved in a community like AIESEC for a while, new desires and drivers are uncovered and motivation starts coming from a new source. We become connected to moving a community forward – rather than just ourselves. By moving the community we’re in forward and ensuring that all people involved grow, learn, develop the community thrives. By extension – if the community thrives, so will we, it’s members.

However, this is not an automatic process. It is something that we as leaders and members of communities can stimulate or retard. One of the basic tools to use is to engage in dialogue with people around how their drivers and desires connect with what the drivers and desires are for the community.

At a recent training we held we discussed Steven Reiss’ 16 basic desires. This theory, based on over 6000 interviews, shows us that motivation essentially is personal. But, by understanding the drivers of our members, and connecting these personal drivers to their work in the organization we can help them see the link between a thriving community and themselves as thriving individuals. Thus, the motivation is no longer only individual – it becomes a motivation for making the community grow.

Picture by Tom@HK.